International Attracts Some Big Names

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 2, 2004, 4:00 pm
The International 2004Castle Pines Golf Club is nothing like Whistling Straits. The International is a far cry from the PGA Championship.
It would seem logical that many of the top players would skip this event in preparation for the seasons final major, but once again the field is filled with notable names.
This probably isn't the best golf course to walk before the PGA, but it is a good place get ready for the PGA because it's a good course; I like the place and I love the format. It's a good place to warm up, said Davis Love III.
Love made those statements prior to the start of last years event ' before he won.
The win was easy for Love ' he had a 12 point margin of victory under the modified Stableford format, but the path to victory was a bit rocky, as he had to deal with rumors all week surrounding his marriage.
This year, Love is more at ease in his personal life, but, professionally, hes suffered a falloff from 2003.
The International was Loves fourth win a year ago; hes still seeking his first in 04.
Love has a pair of runner-up finishes this year, including a loss to Tiger Woods in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He also has a tie for sixth in the Masters and a tie for fifth in the British Open.
But no wins.
There are, however, plenty of 2004 winners in the field this week -- 16, to be exact.
That list includes Ernie Els and Todd Hamilton, who is making his first start since knocking off Els in the British Open.
Also in attendance ' or at least scheduled to compete ' is David Duval.
Duval is a resident of nearby Cherry Hills Village. This tournament is special for the newly anointed Coloradan, as it is where he met his wife.
Duval met Colorado native Susie Persichitte, a mother of three, here ' in a restaurant, not on the golf course ' in 2003. The two married March 6.
Duval has played this event nine times before, finishing runner-up to David Toms in 1999. This will be only his second start of the season. After taking the first half off to try and rediscover his game, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He was supposed to compete at the British Open, but withdrew after the Tuesday practice round because of a bad back.
The modified Stableford scoring system awards 8 points for double eagle, 5 for eagle, 2 for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.
Phil Mickelson, who is skipping the tournament for the first time as a professional, shares the 72-hole scoring record. Mickelson, in 1997, and Els, in 2000, each totaled 48 points.
Greg Whisman, in 1992, and Tom Purtzer, in 1997, share the 18-hole record with 20 points each.
Mickelson isn't the only notable long-time participant who is absent this year. Vijay Singh, who won his fourth tournament of the year last week at the Buick Open, is missing for the first time since 1997. Mike Weir and Sergio Garcia, who have each played here five times, are also not playing.
U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen pulled out after bruising his hip during a jet ski accident last week while on vacation. He does expect to play next week in the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods has only played here twice, and not since 1999.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.